News / Africa

South African President Pressured by Corruption Report

FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, Feb. 13, 2014.
FILE - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town, Feb. 13, 2014.
The corruption allegations surrounding South African President Jacob Zuma have prompted the National Assembly to take action.
 
And observers say Zuma’s problems may translate into losses by the African National Congress in South Africa’s parliamentary elections in May.

National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu announced on this month that he is appointing a committee to look into a recent report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
 
That report said that Zuma “improperly benefited” from the use of state funds to upgrade his private residence, Nkandla. The 12-member parliamentary panel has been given until April 30 to issue its findings.
 
The Public Protector’s report said the equivalent of $23 million was spent on “security upgrades.”
 
Among other things, a swimming pool and an enclosure for his cattle were constructed.
 
“Some of these measures,” the report said, “can be legitimately classified as unlawful, and the acts involved constitute improper conduct and maladministration.”
 
Former U.S. Ambassador John Campbell, now at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said the pool has become a symbol of the president’s excess.
 
“The justification for it,” he said, “is that the swimming pool provides a water source that could be used – in other words, you could pump water out of it – to fight a fire. Most South Africans, if the ‘blogosphere’ is any indication, simply don’t buy that as an explanation.”
 
Campbell’s observation is backed by Gareth Newham, an analyst at the independent research organization Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria.
 
“Various surveys show that at least two thirds of South Africans believe that he benefited unduly in his personal capacity from taxpayer’s money,” he said, adding that these surveys also show that people believe “that the money [spent] was excessive. It wasn’t spent correctly.”
 
David Lewis, executive director of “Corruption Watch” in Johannesburg, agreed.
 
“The point is that he is using the presidency of the country for his personal gain,” Lewis said. “And the answer in the Nkandla scandal “is that yes, he does not appreciate the distinction between public resources and his private gain.”
 
Zuma issued a statement on April 3 saying that he is awaiting the results of a parallel probe by South Africa’s Special Investigating Unit before responding to questions about the expenditures.
 
Already, a report from an inter-ministerial committee has cleared the South African president of wrongdoing.
 
But in Newham’s view that report lacks credibility.
 
“This is an internal report,” Newham said, “an investigation headed by his various ministers who are directly implicated in these unethical and illegal expenditures. And, they cleared themselves, and him.”
 
The Nkandla controversy isn’t the first for Zuma.
 
His financial advisor, Schabir Shaik, was sentenced in 2005 to 15 years in prison for bribery in connection of to the South African Navy’s purchase of new ships when Zuma was deputy-president.
 
Zuma himself was also charged with corruption and relieved of his duties by President Thabo Mbeki.
 
After rounds of legal maneuvering, the charges against Zuma were dropped in April 2009, clearing the way for him to run for the presidency. Zuma’s future hinges on the outcome of National Assembly elections.
 
Campbell said a shake-up may be looming ahead.
 
“At present,” he said, “the ANC has about two thirds of the seats in parliament. If the ANC’s percentage drops below 60 percent, then some commentators think the ANC might remove Zuma as the party leader.”

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Philemon M from: Malawi
April 15, 2014 3:53 AM
No wonder,his conduct in his regime has caused RSA economy to be surpassed by Nigeria.the best thing to do is to step down.


by: max ajida from: pretoria
April 14, 2014 10:07 AM
The only best thing Jacob Corrupt Zuma can do is to step down. But he can't do so because he knows once he steps down will be an easy prey. And those who protect him like Blade Nzimande won't do so. For him to invade jail ,he has to remain in power. He so dull that he publicly said ,"he didn't know what was happening at his own compound thinking people will beleave in him. Nzimande the faithful servant of Zuma is trying to mudy the Public Protector's report by calling it "white lies" . These people were so vocal calling the national to live and practice the legacy of late Nelson Mandela while they were doing the opposite.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid